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Creativity challenge

Students at key stage 3 can win a laptop by designing a spizzle, says Penny Cottee

Inventive solutions to a range of intriguing design challenges are invited by the newly launched Audi Innovation Awards, set up to inspire secondary students to expand their creative skills.

Developed by the Audi Design Foundation, perhaps best known for its Young Designer of the Year scheme for 16 to 18-year-olds, this new competition has been created to support key stage 3 design and technology in a bid to encourage students to grasp the building blocks of creative design at an earlier age.

"We're looking to open young minds as early as possible, and to give them tools to explore the whole design process," explains Michael Farmer, manager of the foundation.

The awards take the form of six challenges, increasing in difficulty. The first invites pupils to design a "spizzle", leaving them to decide what a "spizzle" is and does. They are also asked to produce a torch without a conventional on-off switch, devise protective clothing for a trip to Mars, create a new national sport to present to the Olympic committee, develop a three-day menu for astronauts and draw up plans for a new watercraft powered by environment-friendly energy sources.

"To date, the syllabus has focused on the 'make' aspects of design," says Michael Farmer. "Now we're looking at the creative elements."

The foundation believes these challenges, devised by a panel of teachers, offer the first resources that respond to and reflect changes to the KS3 syllabus, which is now more focused on the creative process.

The teachers' notes and lesson plans can also be accessed by schools which are not participating in the competition, to bring the benefits to a wider audience. A dedicated website has been developed to provide support materials and information for schools. Students can enter individually or in groups of four, and may enter more than one challenge.

The overall winner will receive pound;2,000 for their school's design department, and their teacher will win a trip to Germany to spend two days working with design teachers and visit the Audi factory. The winning pupil's individual prize is a laptop with design software, or a cash equivalent if a group wins. Runners-up also receive cash prizes for themselves and their DT departments.

* Closing date for entries is November 19, 2004.

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